PREJUDGMENT WRIT OF GARNISHMENT IN FLORIDA
Prejudgment remedies in Florida are useful tools that can set the tone in litigation. Prejudgment remedies often times place opposing parties on notice that the matter is going to be aggressively handled and that the claim is well financed. One of the most useful and practical prejudgment remedies in Florida is having the Court issue a prejudgment writ of garnishment against the Defendant/Debtor’s bank accounts/accounts payable. What does this mean, supposed for a moment that the Defendant/Debtor fraudulently misappropriated money. Plaintiff can file a motion with the court seeking the issuance of a prejudgment writ of garnishment resulting in the Defendant/Debtor’s bank accounts/accounts payable being frozen, all of this without having a judgment entered in Plaintiff’s favor. A garnishment makes the funds or property unavailable to the Defendant/Debtor until a final decision is made by the Court. As a Plaintiff, this creates a lot of leverage on the front-end of litigation which usually results in a quicker resolution between the parties.
In Florida, “[a] prejudgment writ of garnishment… is a civil remedy available to a party to secure the anticipated money judgment the party ultimately expects to recover.” Garel & Jacobs, P.A. v. Wick, 683 So. 2d 184, 186 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996). Fla Stat. § 77.031(2) states that in order to obtain issuance of a prejudgment writ of garnishment, a plaintiff must:
- file in the court where the action is pending a verified motion or affidavit alleging by specific facts the nature of the cause of action;
- the amount of the debt and that the debt for which the plaintiff sues is just, due and unpaid;
- that the garnishment is not sued out to injure either the defendant or the garnishee and that the plaintiff believes that the defendant will not have in his or her possession, after execution is issued, tangible or intangible property in this state and in the county in which the action is pending on which a levy can be made sufficient to satisfy the plaintiff’s claim.
Fla. Stat. Fla Stat. § 77.031(2).
In addition, the statute requires that for a court to issue a writ of garnishment, the Plaintiff must post “a bond with surety to be approved by the clerk payable to the defendant in at least double the amount of the debt demanded.” Fla Stat. § 77.031(3). Finally, Fla. Stat. § 77.28 further requires that a party seeking a writ of garnishment shall deposit $100 into the registry of the court before issuance of the writ so that such monies may be paid to the garnishee for the payment or part payment of the garnishee’s attorney’s fees. Fla. Stat. § 77.28.
There are various procedural and technical requirements before the Court will allow for the prejudgment writ to be issued. Florida Statutes §77.031 requires that the Plaintiff file a lawsuit and an affidavit containing the requisite language set forth in the statute. The motion for issuance of the prejudgment writ is presented to the Court in an ex parte fashion, without notice to the opposing side and/or their counsel, otherwise the Defendant/Debtor could potentially remove funds from their bank account before the bank is served with the writ of garnishment. Once issued, the clerk is required to send a copy of the writ to the Defendant/Debtor so the Plaintiff should make sure the writ is served immediately on the garnishee. Pursuant to Florida law the garnishee is required to file an answer to the garnishment within twenty days.
If you have any issues concerning prejudgment garnishment writs in Florida then contact Sweeney Law, P.A. immediately to protect your rights.
Sweeney Law, P.A. Has Vast Experience in Prosecuting and Defending Relating to Prejudgment Writs of Garnishment
Brendan A. Sweeney, Esq., LL.M., of Sweeney Law, P.A., a boutique firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, regularly handles complex transactional and litigation matters throughout Florida. Brendan A. Sweeney, Esq., LL.M. is an AV Preeminent Martindale Rated Attorney, that has been recognized as a Florida Super Lawyer in 2019, Florida Legal Elite in 2019, and as a Florida Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014. If you have any prejudgment writ of garnishment questions and/or issues then contact Sweeney Law, P.A. at (954) 440-3993 immediately to protect your rights. www.sweeneylawpa.com.